Red Drum

(Sciaenops ocellatus)

Drum, Reds, Channel bass

1. What is it?

Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) are demersal fish found in sandy and muddy habitats around estuaries and the surf zones. They are a commercially valuable species that has been heavily fished since the late 1970s. In recent years, concerns surrounding the decline in natural population has led to a number of strict regulatory measures to help facilitate their recovery. In some areas commercial fishing of red drum has been eliminated entirely.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Red drum are farmed using cages following a hatchery based approach. This species does require a feed inputs but all components of the feed are traceable. Open-net floating cage culture can have a number of impacts on the surrounding environment and water quality including increase in nutrients from faecal wastes and uneaten feed, however there is little or no impact on the seabed. The risk of escapes is high which can lead to negative environmental impacts as this species is not native to Mauritius.

3. Where is it from?

Red Drum are naturally found along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts and are farmed in Mauritius and imported into South Africa. Management of red drum is considered to be partially effective as it does not address all the possible ecosystem impacts.